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Monday, June 06, 2011

In reading the various postings here on Spark People be it exercise routines, choice of equipment or even recopies I am struck by the prevalence of �substations� where something engineered is exchange for something real. My immediate question is why replace something real with something engineered.

Case in point, by original definition circuit training referred to a series of strength exercises performed in succession, X repetitions of Y exercises for Z repeats with a recovery period between the circuits. Research done on this form of exercise demonstrated a cardiovascular improvement without the addition of any dedicated cardiovascular component. When a cardio vascular component was added it only added two the three percentage points to the benefit. Now we have a conglomeration of alternating strength and cardio exercises being called circuit training. Curves, Jillian Michaels and a variety of other programmes all call themselves circuit training now in contradiction to the proper definition. Most of these are heavy on the cardio and deficit in the strength component even when they are marketed as strength training. The latest and greatest new combination or sequence of exercises is most likely neither, excluding technology there are only so may ways the human body can be challenged.

We are confronted with machines such as elliptical machines, ARC trainers, Gazelles and NodricTrac Incline trainer which lay claim to burning prodigious numbers of calories when compared to a variety of other activities. The elliptical does not biomechanically mimic any motions or sequence of motions we do in everyday activities. In addition physics states that a body in motion tends to remain in motion, once you get the pendulum swinging it will continue to swing requiring less effort.The incline trainer theoretically mimics walking up hill but 50% of the effort is removed by the movement of the belt underfoot. The same thing occurs when you use a treadmill for running or walking, your leg is pulled to the rear by the motion of the belt unless the treadmill is non motorized. A stationary bike, upright or recumbent is all about the legs and makes no demands on the core or any requirement to balance. A spinning bike is more adaptable and can mimic cycling allowing standing and other variations of normal cycling technique. Using a stir stepper by holding on takes away the core and balance components you will get walking up real stairs.

Running free beats a treadmill, a jump rope will work you harder than an elliptical and walking up and incline on a non motorized treadmill will more closely mimic walking uphill. All of these things can be done from your home meaning no hassles with commuting to a gym and putting up with gym slobs. These will provide a more work in less time,we substitute quality for quantity.

When we compare machine weight stations with bodyweight, resistance bands or free weights to differences are dramatic. Machines restrict range of motion, create unnatural movements, do not recruit the synergistic muscles and by having the user seated make few demands on the core muscles. In addition some machines are injury producers due to restricted ranges of motion or being designed to work secondary muscles as prime movers i.e. Smith Machine squats and leg adduction and abduction machines. To increase the demands of bodyweight exercises the use of a suspension rig such as TRX or an assisted bodyweight machine such as a Total Gym will produce results.

On a final note why do recipes substitute engineered chemicals for real foods. Artificial sweeteners, fake eggs, �fake milk� made up from nuts and legumes, canola and corn oil are all highly processed foods or chemistry experiments with limited if any nutritional value. Using these ingredients in a futile attempt to reduce calories or avoid some real or imagined health threat is chasing a chimera. Yes people do have allergies, yes people have intolerances to certain food products and they need to avoid those products, Extending this to the normal population leads to a form of self deception in my opinion. You can not eat clean if you are using chemical substitutes for food.

When we are confronted by the latest and greatest new gadget.,work out programme or super food we need to ask is it real or is it Memorex.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Hey, I LOVE exercise machines. You just need to know how and why you use them. I'm doing 60 minutes of cardio a day using elliptical, arc, inclined treadmill or wave--this keeps stress off my load-bearing joints which are arthritic. I could not accomplish the cardio I accomplish without them.

    As for weights, I do indeed prefer free weights. But the cable and other machines are fun to keep my workouts fresh. I challenge myself in different ways with them.

    My total workout is 90 minutes. I kick myself out of the gym at that time. I'm soaked in sweat and love every minute of it.

    I try not to be too cerebral with my workouts. Good music, daily consistency--that's my focus lately. I've been doing them long enough that I'm confident I'm balancing them fine. People turn their opinions and personal preference into a religion, I have found, in the workout world. LOL!! Keep it simple.

    I'm enjoying your posts.

    2775 days ago
    Once again, thank you for your words of wisdom. You are an inspiration to me.
    2812 days ago
  • NWFL59
    most of the ones I've tried aren't even up to Memorex emoticon
    2843 days ago
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